In the County Courts

first_img July 1, 2003 Judge Peggy Gehl Regular News Nonlawyer judge rules in Holmes County for 25 years Broward CountyThe Conference of County Court Judges is proud to celebrate the 25th anniversary of service of Holmes County Judge Robert Earl Brown, a disappearing breed of Florida’s nonattorney judges serving the citizens of the 14th Judicial Circuit.Our Florida judicial history would be deficient of its richness and color without the inclusion of the original 34 nonattorney judges grandfathered in at the implementation of Article V in 1973. In 1972, an amendment to Article V established our present two-tier trial court system, providing that all judges must be attorneys except county judges in counties with populations less than 40,000. This small-county exception to the requirement of law school graduation and Bar admission was later removed totally by the legislature. Some may not even know that these dedicated public servants filled a judicial void for decades in small counties where there were no lawyers who wanted to dedicate their careers to judicial service; or possibly, in some small counties, no lawyers resided at all.The Great Depression was in full swing in 1932 in the land of cotton, peanuts, hogs, and corn, when Robert Earl Brown was born in tiny Caryville to Mr. and Mrs. Jessie Ross Brown. Both his parents were Florida natives, but both sets of grandparents migrated to Florida from South Carolina via Alabama and Georgia in the late 1800s. Less than 20 miles south of the Alabama border, Caryville, with a population less than 1,000, was a tiny log and sawmill town where steamboats carried cotton up the Choctawhatchee River to the cotton gin in Geneva, Alabama, only a few miles north of Florida’s border. Barges floated logs to the sawmills. There were two doctors in the tiny town, along with a telephone/telegraph company, a hotel, a grocery, and one school, Holmes County High School, housing all 12 grades. Before serving as sheriff of Holmes County, Jessie Brown was the engineer for the log train for 30 years. Upon retirement, Brown moved his family just 15 miles northeast to tiny Bonifay, where he helped his brother, Lon, then the Holmes County sheriff, in law enforcement. After eight years, Jessie Brown ran for the office of sheriff himself and was elected.Eight years later, when little Bobby was in the third grade, his mother was diagnosed with cancer. The three small Brown children moved with their mother to Tampa where she could receive the most advanced treatment of the day in 1940. After a year, it became difficult for her to care for the children while undergoing this rigorous treatment. The decision was made to return the children to Bonifay where Sheriff Brown, assisted in the motherly chores by his 12-year-old daughter, raised the family in an apartment in the jail. Delightfully, two years later his mother returned home cured.Early law enforcement experiences with his family—his father, his uncle, his grandfather, and his great grandfather, ignited Judge Brown’s keen interest in running for sheriff. When he was in his early 20s, he ran for Holmes County sheriff but was defeated. The citizens felt he was too young. However, his love and support of law enforcement did not end there. Judge Brown completed the 320-hour Florida Police Standards training course required by the state, and recently retired as a lieutenant with more than 30 years of faithful, dedicated service to the Florida Highway Patrol Auxiliary, with honors.After his political defeat for sheriff, and for the next 20 years, (excepting four years in the Navy during the Korean War), Judge Brown worked in his family-owned business, Brown Packing House Meat, a meat processing company, and Brown Ice Company, while he and his wife, raised their family. In the early ’70s, a close friend, Cletus Andrews, talked him into running for judge. He was elected in 1972 by defeating the incumbent, Judge Louis K. Hutchinson.“I ran and I won. That did it.I knew I wanted to be a judge forever,” Judge Brown said.But Judge Hutchinson was not quite finished with his judicial career, and vied to regain his judicial seat. He successfully defeated Judge Brown in the 1975 election, only to die in office in 1981. Judge Brown had experienced the love and satisfaction which comes from public service, and took advantage of this unexpected vacancy. He ran against and defeated an attorney, Harvey Besler, in 1982, and has been re-elected every term since.“I’ve spent a lifetime working and raising a family right here in Holmes County,” he said. “I love Holmes County and I want to continue working for the people here.”Pursuant to mandate by the Florida Supreme Court, all nonattorney judges were required to complete judicial training at the University of Florida College of Law. The three-year course contained the same curriculum as a law degree. Until completed, judges were required to attend classes in Gainesville all summer plus one week per month, in addition to preparing and studying at home between each class session. Judge Brown completed his legal training at the University of Florida and followed it with a National College State Judiciary course at the University of Nevada in 1977.Complimenting the nonattorney judges as students, UF College of Law Professor Walter Weyrauch wrote then Florida Chief Judge Ben Overton in 1977: “Teaching the nonlawyer county judges was an extraordinary and refreshing experience. They were colorful persons who demand and deserve respect. The class discussions were intense and in many respects different and perhaps superior to what I am used to from law students. They also had a vivid interest in the matters under discussion, and did not display any of the signs of boredom familiar to any law teacher in the U.S. who teaches second- and third-year students.”The professor added: “[T]he experience was stimulating and forced me to re-examine some of the preconceptions I had about the participation of nonlawyer judges in legal processes. Perhaps it should be remembered in this context that our founding fathers, in so far as they were lawyers, had only “read the law” according to Blackstone, or, as Thomas Jefferson and Chief Justice John Marshall of the United States Supreme Court, had taken a few months classes of law under George Wythe at William and Mary, the only college in the country at that time where any law was taught. There were no bar examinations. Yet the opinions of Mr. Chief Justice Marshall, in depth of legal analysis and lasting significance, easily outdistance much of contemporary legal writing. Nobody could seriously contend that the early American lawyers were less qualified than contemporary lawyers, or even our county judges after their special training, because they had no law degrees and bar examinations.”Judge Brown will shortly retire from the bench he has served so well the past two-plus decades. He and his wife, Ada Clara, an accomplished instructor of marketing and business management at Washington-Holmes Technical College in Chipley, share a wonderful marriage, eight children, 17 grandchildren, and five great grandchildren. They enjoy their time together fishing, swimming, walking, dancing, and vacations at their cabin in North Carolina.“In the 29 years I have taught, my main goal has been to help at least one person to become a better person and to gain employment in a profession they enjoy,” Mrs. Brown recently said. The recipient of the Teacher of the Year Award, the Washington County Teacher of the Year, and the Florida Marketing Educator of the Year, finds her true blessings in the names of her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.The Browns are active in their church, the First Baptist Church in Bonifay, and as Judge Brown declares: “I enjoy spending time with my wonderful wife. We both love the Lord and try to spread this love through this huge family of ours.”There are only four remaining nonattorney judges serving Florida constituents today, and two of them serve in the 14th Judicial Circuit. Judge Brown, along with Judge Woody Hatcher of Jackson County, are the lone survivors in this large circuit made up of six counties. Judge Wetzel Blair in the Third Judicial Circuit represents Madison County, and Judge Colie Nichols in the First Judicial Circuit represents Santa Rosa County.The Conference of County Court Judges has enjoyed the service of Judge Brown as the circuit representative of the 14th Judicial Circuit on the board of directors the past 13 years. In the County Courtslast_img read more

‘Skinny dippers’ event to be kept under wraps

first_imgBay of Plenty Times 8 Nov 2012The EdgeSkinny dippers attempting a world record in the Bay will be covered in to ensure that unsuspecting beachgoers are not exposed to the fleshy scene. The event organisers have accepted recommendations from the Tauranga City Council for a new location and that shade screens be set up to create a visible barrier. The world record attempt for skinny dipping was arranged by radio station The Edge after listeners voted Mount Maunganui the ideal North Island location. The event will now be held at Papamoa’s Harrison’s Cut on December 1. Council spokeswoman Alison Clifford said other events planned for Mount Maunganui that weekend would make parking and access difficult for the event. Some roads would be closed for a Christmas parade which would be staged on the same day. Harrison’s Cut had ample parking. The council also suggested that a shade screen be erected.…Family First national director Bob McCoskrie said the move away from the main beach and introduction of screens was a “victory for common sense”. When the Bay of Plenty Times first published the story of the plans, Mr McCoskrie hit out at it, saying it was highly offensive and “completely unacceptable”. read more

Cricket News BCCI comes under RTI Act, will be answerable to common people

first_imgNew Delhi: The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) will now be answerable to the people of the country as the Central Information Commission (CIC) on Monday ruled that the governing body of cricket will be covered under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.The CIC, which is the foremost appellate body in RTI related matters, said that the functional characteristics of the BCCI fulfilled the required conditions of Section 2(h) of the RTI Act.Also Read | Centre takes over management of debit-ridden IL&FS GroupIn his 37-page order, Information Commissioner Sridhar Acharyulu said, “The SC has also reaffirmed that the BCCI is the ‘approved’ national-level body holding virtually monopoly rights to organize cricketing events in the country.”The BCCI president, secretary and Committee of Administrators were also asked to appoint central public information officers, central assistant public information officers and first appellate authorities to deal with the public queries under the RTI Act.Also Read | ‘Lights, Camera, Scam’: Rahul Gandhi’s mordacious attack on PM Modi over IL&FS bailout“The BCCI should be listed as an NSF covered under the RTI Act. The RTI Act should be made applicable to the BCCI along with its entire constituent member cricketing associations, provided they fulfil the criteria applicable to the BCCI, as discussed in the Law Commission’s report,” Acharyulu said.The BCCI has been given 15 days time to set up online and offline mechanisms to receive applications seeking information under the Act. For all the Latest Sports News News, Cricket News News, Download News Nation Android and iOS Mobile Apps.last_img read more